Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Renaissance Research "Conservatory Project" Assignment On Contemporary Opera Composition: American Writer Amy Tan On "The Bonesetter's Daughter"

"Adapted from the best-selling novel by beloved Bay Area author Amy Tan, these world premiere performances of "The Bonesetter's Daughter" by the San Francisco National Opera company tell a resonant story of belated intergenerational understanding that leads to emotional healing. A troubled Chinese-American woman learns the horrible secrets of her immigrant mother’s past in this touching and terrifying tale, set in both modern-day San Francisco and the Chinese countryside during the tumultuous events surrounding World War II.

Composer Stewart Wallace incorporates the timbres and textures of Chinese music into his highly expressive and lyrical score—an American opera with roots in China. Mezzo-soprano Zheng Cao, the splendid Suzuki in San Francisco National Opera’s recent Madama Butterfly, heads the cast of this deeply personal work. Star of the Lincoln Center Festival’s historic production of The Peony Pavilion, Kunju singer Qian Yi has been acclaimed by the The New York Times Magazine as “China’s reigning opera princess.”"

The San Francisco National Opera

Public Television KQED preview and interview with The Bonesetter's Daughter author and librettist Amy Tan

Afghanistan: Hidden Treasures from the National Museum, Kabal, at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. [and which will be on exhibition at the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco at the time of the San Francisco National Opera world premiere of "The Bonecutter's Daughter".]

The Phillips Collection Exhibition of Jacob Lawrence's Over The Line: The Great Migration Series


Assignment: What are your thoughts about the KQED public television Amy Tan preview of, and interview about, this new American opera? Would you be interested in seeing this new American opera? Have you ever seen an interview with an American composer or librettist on public television in your area? Do you have your own favorite contemporary novel, poem, film, series of paintings or photographs, or story?

Arnold Genthe, Chinatown, San Francisco at the turn of the twentieth century [1898]. The population is predominantly male because U.S. policies at the time made it difficult for Chinese women to enter the country.

Photo credits: Header photo is of a painted Bodhisattva — "enlightened being" — on gilded clay from seventh-century Fondukistan, a medieval settlement and Buddhist monastery in Afghanistan. (c) Fredrik Hiebert and National Geographic Society. All rights reserved. Genthe photo is (c) Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, Achenbach Foundation for Graphic Arts. With thanks.


Paintings of migrant working women by Edgar Degas and Jacob Lawrence, in the collections of, respectively, the Norton Simon Museum, Pasadena, California, and The Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C. Degas is reported to have made 27 paintings of women laundering clothing.

(c) Norton Simon Museum Foundation and Jacob Lawrence and The Phillips Collection. All rights reserved. With thanks.


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